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NFFC - Disneyana Fan Club Archives

July 14, 2014

DisneyanaMania Convention: Coming Up and Looking Back.

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This week, the Disneyana Fan Club will once again be holding its annual DisneyanaMania Convention.

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Always a good choice for the Disney fan interested in learning more about the history and doings of the various facets of the company without the stress of some of the bigger conventions, DisneyanaMania is traditionally held over the weekend of Disneyland's anniversary, and includes two days of talks, various Disney celebrity-studded meals, and the Disneyana Collectible Expo.

Last year's convention covered a wide range of topics: Artist Dave Avenzino started it off with a presentation on how he develops and executes his popular line of dimensional, custom-made paper art.

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Next up, Disney Legend Marty Sklar gave a talk similar to a few others he gave last year on the creation of his recent book "Dream it! Do it!" and the lessons he learned from his years with the Disney Company.

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The traditional "Disneyana Fan Club Luncheon with a Disney Legend" is always a highlight each year for the sheer density of Disney luminaries that attend.

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The award ceremonies began with a recognition of Tony Baxter's 47 years with Disney, "Making Magic."

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The two present inductees into the Disneyana Legends roster for 2013 were Howard E. Green, VP of Communications for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Bruce Reitherman, accepting for both himself and his father Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman.

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Howard E. Green has been involved with publicizing Disney projects for 36 years, and has helped launch EPCOT Center, coordinated Mickey Mouse's 50th Birthday cross-country tour, and written decades-worth of press releases and related copy for Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.

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Bruce Reitherman has been an actor, cinematographer, director, writer, and producer for various documentaries, but is famously known in Disney circles as having been the voice of both Mowgli in "The Jungle Book," and Christopher Robin in "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree."

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His father, Wolfgang Reitherman, was one of Walt's famous Nine Old Men of animation, working on most of the classic animated features (giving life to action sequences such as the fight between Prince Philip and Maleficent in "Sleeping Beauty,") and directing "The Sword in the Stone," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," and "Robin Hood."

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After lunch, Chris Ellis, an Orlando Cast Member with one of the largest vintage pin collections around, showed attendees a variety of historical pins and detailed some of his research in obtaining, categorizing, and evaluating them.

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The final panel for the day was made up of Dusty Sage and Jeff Heimbuch from MiceChat, and Mousetalgia podcasters Dave, Kristen, and Jeff. They spoke on the state of present-day Disney fandom, and how their groups have interacted and worked with the Disney Company.

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The next day was supposed to include a presentation with "Dog with a Blog," but there was a last-minute substitution with past Head Archivist Dave Smith who took questions from the audience.

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Jeff Heimbuch returned for his talk on "The Five-Legged Goat," which is a term he's coined for various features with hidden back-stories that inhabit the various Disney parks and resorts.

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Don Ballard, author of two books on the Disneyland Hotel, then spoke on some additional archival material he had recently found in one of Jack Wrather's (original owner of the Disneyland Hotel) storage vaults.

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He showed a large variety of old photos and home film footage documenting the early history of the Disneyland Hotel and its famous and not-so-famous guests.

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Eventually, of course, the need for capacity and the changing environment caused the gradual metamorphosis of the small but sophisticated structure into the larger buildings we have today.

Author Sam Gennawey spoke on the ill-fated "Mineral King" project that Walt had planned for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and detailed the history of opposition to it that led to its ultimate cancellation.

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Finally, the convention's last panel ended on a highlight as Disney Legend and past Imagineer Rolly Crump reminisced about his time with the company and his interactions with Walt Disney.

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He showed a good deal of his early artwork, and told anecdotes about his contributions to such famous and classic attractions as the Tiki Room and The Haunted Mansion.

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Arguably his most famous creation was the Tower of the Four Winds he designed for the it's a small world pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair. Ironically, he wasn't particularly impressed with it after it was constructed, feeling it appeared less delicate in reality than it did in his concept.

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That evening saw the Disneyana Celebration Banquet which was commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the film Peter Pan and had as its special guest, Margaret Kerry, the original model for Tinker Bell.

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This year's DisneyanaMania Convention will take place July 16-July 20 at the Wyndham Anaheim Hotel in Garden Grove, and promises to be just as history-filled and exuberant in its celebration of Disney fandom as last year. If you are in the area and have an interest in learning more about Disney and the art and fandom it inspires (or even just in shopping the large group sale on the last day,) I encourage you to check it out. Tickets will be available at the door, and this year's schedule is available at http://www.disneyanafanclub.org/DisneyanaMania


June 30, 2013

DisneyanaMania Convention: A Look Back

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Summertime's here, and we are fast approaching the onset of convention season, where big cavalcades of fannish delight such as San Diego Comic-Con and Disney's own Expo come piling on, one after the other, until by September it all threatens to become a blur of massed crowds, waiting in line, and overpriced concession food.

When making your plans as to what to attend this season, one smaller event traditionally well worth your time is the DisneyanaMania (previously NFFC/Disneyana) Annual Convention. To give you an example of what to expect, here are some of the highlights from last year:

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The first day started with "Historic Anaheim," starring long-time Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

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Kevin spoke on their work with the Anaheim Historical Society to preserve and restore Anaheim's heritage, starting with Anaheim's old Disney-provided mascot, Andy Anaheim.

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Next up was Disney Legend Marty Sklar and his presentation on "Epcot--How it Changed the World."

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This talk was similar to the ones given at the EPCOT 30 event later in the year, showing a lot of early photos of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and touching on many of the early plans and goals the Imagineers had for EPCOT.

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At the midday break, they held their traditional "Luncheon With A Disney Legend," at which Glen Keane, Roger Broggie, and Roger Broggie Jr. were made Disneyana Disney Legends. (Roger Broggie Jr. accepted for both himself and his father, before tragically passing away later that year.)

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One hilarious panel came after lunch with Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, creators of Phineas and Ferb. They spoke about their initial concepts for the show, the challenges of having written over 300 shows (at the time,) and how affected they were by the show's popularity. "We saw the show (Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party) and cried. Then we hoped people didn't see us and think we were sad, middle-aged men, so into Phineas and Ferb."

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Joanna Miller then shared some photos and memories of her grandfather, Walt Disney, in "A Chat with Walt's Granddaughter."

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The end of the first day came with Lisa Girolami, Senior Show Producer on the renovation of Disney's California Adventure, who gave a presentation on "WDI: Buena Vista Street."

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The next day started with "Selling Disney--The Art (and Fun) of Movie Promotions." Here, Robert Tieman showed us a lot of ads and promotional materials companies used to synergistically market their products along with the Disney films.

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In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film Aladdin, there was an ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film D' Animation) panel made up of several of the key animators. Tom Sito moderated, with Scott Weinger, Andreas Deja, Duncan Majoribanks, Rick Farmiloe, and Mark Henn in attendance.

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After lunch a panel of distinguished authors convened to talk about their various books. Prior to that, they had all been available for greeting and book signings:

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Sam Gennaway, Urban Planner;

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Jack Linquist, first President of Disneyland;

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Dave Smith, former Chief Archivist;

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...and Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr. Also in attendance were Margaret Kerry, Tinker Bell, and Carolyn Carroll, widow to Eddie Carroll, voice of Jiminy Cricket.

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"Around the Campfire with Marty" was another great talk, featuring David Stollery--Marty of the Spin and Marty series. He told anecdotes about the filming of their Mickey Mouse Club series, his later career in design (his company is the only designer of life guard towers in the world!) and his ongoing friendship with Tim Considine (Spin.)

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Rounding out the weekend of seminars was Kevin Rafferty, talking about the development of Cars Land from its inception as "Carland," some two years before the movie "Cars" came out.

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Their closing banquet this year was themed around a joyously rowdy Pirates of the Caribbean panel made up of Alice Davis, Roger Broggie Jr., and Bob Gurr.

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The next day was their traditional All Disneyana Show and Sale, where several rooms of people selling virtually anything Disney-related you might wish for happily plied their trade...famous and non-famous.

What makes the Disneyana Convention stand out is its relatively small size--there's no call for hours of queuing, and plenty of available seating for each presentation. The audience is small enough where most speakers are able to take the time to briefly greet anyone interested. While the price is higher than a few of the other conventions ($270 for two days of seminars, not including the special ticketed dining events,) it could easily be argued that the ability to attend relatively stress-free is worth the difference.

This year, DisneyanaMania 2013 is being held July 11 through 14 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Anaheim. Registrations are still being taken at http://www.disneyanamania.org/ where you can also find a schedule of events and more information. Scheduled speakers for this year include Marty Sklar, Rolly Crump, and many more.

October 4, 2011

DisneyanaMania: Something For Everybody

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So if the official Disney conventions turn out to not fit either your schedule or your budget, another very good alternative is the annual, fan-organized, DisneyanaMania convention which took place this year on July 12-16.

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I was able to attend last year, and even though this year the convention attendance was slightly smaller, the programming was no less full of impressive speakers and content. It started off Tuesday night with a welcome dinner, celebrating this year's 45th anniversary of "it's a small world," with honored guests Alice Davis and Maggie Richardson, niece to Mary Blair.

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The next day's panels started in the afternoon, following their annual fundraising brunch for Ryman Arts (a non-profit organization providing free art education to talented aspirants.) The Dueling Jims Hill and Korkis started it off with "WDW I Can Do It Better Than You," a good-natured competition of anecdotes.

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Roger LaRoque and Nick Farago followed with a talk on "Historical Postcards."

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And the day ended with a panel and autograph session featuring four Disney-related authors: Don Peri, who wrote "Working With Disney," a series of interviews with people who worked directly with Walt; Professor Andi Stern, who wrote "Why We Love Disney," a scholarly work on the history and appeal of the Disney Company; Nancy Temple Rodrigue, who wrote the Hidden Mickey series--fictional novels that begin with a lost diary detailing clues and a trail Walt left throughout Disneyland; and of course, Jim Korkis, with his recent book "The Vault of Walt."

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The next morning, Kevin Kidney gave a great presentation on the behind-the-scenes process of putting together the new Soundsational parade and some of the new products he and Jody Daily have created for WDW's 40th anniversary this year.

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("Where does he get those wonderful toys?")

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"Tasty Crunchies and Munchies and Novelties too," presented by Karlos Siqueros, Manager of Food and Beverage Concept Design for the Disneyland Resort, showed us a preview of some of their promotional merchandise, edible and otherwise, in the works for the upcoming holidays and spotlighting some of their recent attractions.

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Ron Miziker, past Director of Entertainment and Show Development for Disney, shared some of his stories about planning and producing all the programs for the opening of WDW.

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A World Symphony Orchestra with members from 85 countries was assembled for the occasion, with other performers such as Bob Hope involved in the three day celebration. Miziker went on to produce many more Disney shows, including the opening day broadcast for EPCOT Center, which apparently involved many colorful contretemps with Dick Nunis and Danny Kaye.

A voice panel was up next, with character voices Bill Farmer (Goofy,) Tony Anselmo (Donald,) Bret Iwan (Mickey,) and Creative Director Ben Hoppe. After a brief discussion on how they got into the business of Disney voiceover, they gave a demonstration on dialogue looping with a short cartoon segment.

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Jerry Beck and Charles Solomon then closed out the afternoon with an Animation Critics Panel, discussing some of the history behind Disney animation.

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But the evening was still young! That night was the Celebration Banquet, with special guest Susan Egan (of Broadway's Beauty and the Beast and the animated classic Hercules.)

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After relating some of the high (and low) points of getting and creating the role of Belle on Broadway, she sang some of her characters' signatures songs and was then presented with the Disneyana Fan Club Legend Award.

The next day, which was the last one for presentations, started off with Bob Garner, writer, director, and producer of many documentaries and specials on both Disneyland and WDW. He showed us clips from some of them, including some nostalgic commercials he did for the Matterhorn, and related some of his memories working with Walt and with Nunis.

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Mark Henn, the "Ladies Man" of Disney Animation (6/10 Official Disney Princesses to his name) discussed various topics of his career with Disney throughout the resurgence of Animation in the Ashman/Menken era, and present projects, such as the latest Winnie the Pooh movie.

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The final formal presentation of the weekend was by Eddie Sotto, former Imagineer, who talked a little about how he started out in Imagineering and some of his work developing Main Street for Disneyland Paris. This is him now...

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...and this is him then.

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He was a phenomenally entertaining speaker, and I highly recommend taking any opportunity you get to hear him. Of course, one place you can always hear him is in Disneyland, where (to name a few,) he does various voices on the party line phones and upstairs offices on Main Street, and in Adventureland as Shrunken Ned and the Genie machines.

One of the highlights of every Disneyana Convention is the annual Legends Luncheon, in which Legends awards are presented to a few deserving Disney dignitaries. After a video honoring some of the recently lost Legends, awards were given to Animator Eric Goldberg and Imagineer Kevin Rafferty.

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Rafferty was also recently featured by California Tourism in one of several promotional videos they did of prominent California residents.

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In all, it was an entertaining and informative collection of presentations and presenters topped off with their annual All Disneyana Show and Sale where a number of the speakers were present signing books and Mickey's of Glendale were selling company-exclusive items. Virtually any type of souvenir you could think of was up for purchase.

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While this was definitely the smallest convention I attended this summer, it definitely had a competitive amount of programming and the advantage of having no lines whatsoever for seating. If one of your primary interests is getting to meet Disney personalities, this was certainly your best bet as virtually every speaker had either a signing or a short meet-and-greet following their talk.

If you're interested in finding out more about the convention, the club has put together a video sampler of the weekend:

You can also get more information from their website, http://disneyanafanclub.org/

August 13, 2010

NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club Convention

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In July, the Disneyana Fan Club (up to recently called the National Fantasy Fan Club) held its annual convention at the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort, near Disneyland. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to all things Disney, with an emphasis on the many collectible aspects of that company.

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The convention was held over six days, with several different panels each day featuring a variety of guest speakers. Past Imagineers Willie Ito and Floyd Norman gave talks on the early days of Disney animation, while Rick Farmiloe presented video of the animation department excerpted in Waking Sleeping Beauty, from the 1980's.

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Tony Baxter headed a panel of current Imagineers showing art and describing the process of the resurrection of the Mr. Lincoln attraction, and the reopening of the Disney Gallery in the Main Street Bank at Disneyland.

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A number of authors presented their books at another panel:

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Pam Burns displayed her recent anecdotal book on her mother, Disney Legend/Imagineer Harriet Burns, "Walt Disney's First Lady of Imagineering Harriet Burns."

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Nancy Rodrigue and David Smith signed their Disneyland-based, historical thrillers "Hidden Mickey" and "Hidden Mickey 2: It All Started..."

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And Tom Sito talked about his book "Drawing the Line," which is a historical account of the unionization of animation, including accounts of the famous Disney Studios strike in 1941.

Voiceover artists were well-represented by June Foray (Lucifer the Cat/Cinderella, Grandmother Fa/Mulan,) who gave an account of her long career in animation

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There were a number of celebratory lunches and dinners held in addition to the daytime panels. Disney Legend Bill Farmer (current voice of Goofy) entertained at one, displaying a wide range of voices, from Jack Benny and George Burns, to Bugs Bunny, to Kermit the Frog, and recounting memories of some of the many Disney personalities he knew and worked with throughout the years.

They closed up their schedule of talks with their annual Legends Luncheon, in which they honored four people for their work for Disney: Wayne Jackson, Director for theme park development, manufacturing, and installation of show and ride equipment; animator Mark Henn; choreographer Miriam Nelson; and voice of Jiminy Cricket, the late Eddie Carroll.

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Even after the conference part of the event was over, the activities continued for the attendees. There was an in-park event to celebrate Disneyland's 55th Anniversary, and the club's annual Show and Sale over the weekend where virtually anything remotely connected to Disney was sold by a colossal number of vendors.

This was just a small subset of the week's programming--anyone interested in finding out more about the history of the Disney company, or the people who work(ed) there would be well-served by making plans to attend next year's convention. If you're interested in joining/finding out more about the Disneyana Fan Club, more information can be found at their webpage, http://www.disneyanafanclub.org/.

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About NFFC - Disneyana Fan Club

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the NFFC - Disneyana Fan Club category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Movie Events is the previous category.

Other Disney Exhibits and Shows is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.